David B. Coe: Ideas and the Creative Act of Faith

This will be my last post on Magical Words for a while. My two months here for the promotion of Dead Man’s Reach and His Father’s Eyes is over, and my larger promotional campaign, my Summer-of-Two-Releases Virtual Tour, is winding down. I think all this work has paid off; I hope it has. I’d like to see some nice sales numbers for these two books I love so much.

My focus now is on my next project, which is only just beginning to take shape. I have a magic system — one I really, really like — and I have a couple of characters in mind. But I don’t yet have a plot, or a central conflict. And that’s starting to bother me.

Where do ideas come from? Can they be forced? These questions have been rattling around in my head for some time now, as I struggle to figure […]

Continue reading David B. Coe: Ideas and the Creative Act of Faith

David B. Coe: The Writing Life and What it Means to Me

This is my last entry for this round of guest posts. I have enjoyed being back here at MW for December and January, and I look forward to returning later this year, when I have two more releases (Dead Man’s Reach, the fourth Thieftaker, in July, and His Father’s Eyes, the second book in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, in August).

I have wondered what to write for this last post. Usually we ask our guest writers to give us a post about “the writing life.” But it occurs to me that this is not an easy topic. Describing the writing life is kind of like describing marriage or parenting. It’s a different experience for each of us. Sure there are certain elements of the writing process that all of us share — the frustrations of a stalled narrative, the magic of those days when the words just flow, […]

Continue reading David B. Coe: The Writing Life and What it Means to Me

David B. Coe: The Plotter Pantses

I’m a plotter, and I have been for most of my career. I don’t outline every detail of my books. Far from it. I tend to write loose outlines that touch on the significant plot points of my narratives but leave the details — dialog, specific action, descriptions, etc. — to the moment when I’m actually writing. In other words, I’m a hybrid, as so many of us are: I plot a bit, but I also allow much of my writing to happen organically.

I think that my penchant for doing at least some outlining is, at least in part, an outgrowth of the kind of books I’ve written through my career. I started with big epic fantasies — multi-book story arcs, lots of sub-plots, lots of point of view characters. If I hadn’t outlined, I would have gone crazy trying to keep track of it all. And then I […]

Continue reading David B. Coe: The Plotter Pantses

David B. Coe: Characters and Character Relationships

Spell Blind, the first book in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, has been out for a week now, and it seems to be doing pretty well. If you have read the book, regardless of whether you liked it or not, please do feel free to review it on Amazon.com. The more reviews a book gets the more attention Amazon gives it. Of course, if you feel compelled to give it a five-star review, you should feel free to do that, too . . .

In my first post about the book, as I chronicled the twisted history of the novel and my reworking of it, I mentioned that in the face of my frustration with the book and the rejections it received, it was my love of the characters kept me going and made me determined to see it in print. Today, I’d like to focus on those characters […]

Continue reading David B. Coe: Characters and Character Relationships

David B. Coe: Taking Stock and Taking Risks

Another year, another New Year’s post. That’s not meant to sound like a complaint; I actually love to write them. I use the New Year’s holiday as an opportunity to take stock and assess my accomplishments for the year that’s ending, and also to wipe the slate clean and “start from scratch” on a new year.

This New Year’s in particular feels momentous for me in a professional sense. I have just completed the most productive writing year of my life. I wrote three complete novels in 2014, as well as two new short stories and more blog posts than I care to count. I also edited two books and proofed two others. I recently totalled it up, and I’m pretty certain that I wrote about 400,000 words this year. I had a new Thieftaker book come out (A Plunder of Souls), as well as three original short stories.

And […]

Continue reading David B. Coe: Taking Stock and Taking Risks

Christina Henry — Talking to Characters

I wish I had some really interesting, profound statement to make about the process of creating characters in fiction. I’ve read lots of well-written and well-considered pieces about finding out who your characters are and their motivations and how all those things can make your story better and more interesting.

I’d genuinely like to write one of those pieces for you. I’d like to tell you that I did this writing exercise or that I carefully craft each character and have background histories for all them even if all of that information doesn’t make it into the story.

Unfortunately, my writing process might kindly be termed “intuitive” and less kindly be called “half-assed”.

Take Madeline Black. The heroine of my BLACK WINGS series just appeared in my head one day. Well, I probably shouldn’t say “appeared”. That implies that I saw her, and I didn’t see her. I heard her. […]

Continue reading Christina Henry — Talking to Characters

Darynda Jones — My I Hear Fictional People

My Characters and Me

On more occasions than I can count, my characters have this uncanny ability to make me want things or feel a certain way. This is a quick survey to see which characters influence me most in my day-to-day goings on.

Who makes you stay up at night?

*Ahem.* Yes, that would be Reyes Farrow, for obvious reasons I shan’t go into here.

Who makes you want to make a fresh pot of coffee?

Oh, man, every time I start writing Charley now, the first thing I think is COFFEE! If I don’t have a cup of coffee right there next to me, I feel naked. Well, sometimes I am, but not usually.

Who makes you want to watch TV?

Aunt Lil, actually. I love her and I’d love to hang and watch the tube with her. She has some great one-liners.

Who makes you […]

Continue reading Darynda Jones — My I Hear Fictional People